BEIRUT

Middle East

Gunmen attack port in Benghazi

Army personnel look at the site of an explosion at an army checkpoint in Barsis, east of Benghazi June 12, 2014. (REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori)

CAIRO: Gunmen in Libya attacked the port of the restive eastern city of Benghazi Saturday, firing wildly with small arms into the area for hours, a Libyan security official said.

He said security forces and citizens blocked the city's surrounding roads after the attack, which left six people wounded. He said the attack was likely a reprisal by Islamist militiamen targeted by the forces of renegade Libyan Gen. Khalifa Hifter.

Hifter's forces have been shelling boats smuggling weapons to the militia, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief reporters.

Over the past weeks, forces allied with Hifter have bombed the camps of Islamist militias, which have attacked his troops in return. They also attempted to assassinate Hifter himself, but killed four others instead in the attack.

Benghazi, the birthplace of the 2011 revolt that led to the overthrow and killing of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi, has plunged into unrest and violence since then.

Libya is scheduled to hold parliamentary elections on June 25, aimed to end a standoff between Islamist and non-Islamist political groups.

 

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